1 Corinthians 11:16-24
16 But if anyone wants to argue about this, I simply say that we have no other custom than this, and neither do God’s other churches.
17 But in the following instructions, I cannot praise you. For it sounds as if more harm than good is done when you meet together. 18 First, I hear that there are divisions among you when you meet as a church, and to some extent I believe it.19 But, of course, there must be divisions among you so that you who have God’s approval will be recognized!
20 When you meet together, you are not really interested in the Lord’s Supper.21 For some of you hurry to eat your own meal without sharing with others. As a result, some go hungry while others get drunk. 22 What? Don’t you have your own homes for eating and drinking? Or do you really want to disgrace God’s church and shame the poor? What am I supposed to say? Do you want me to praise you? Well, I certainly will not praise you for this!
23 For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread 24 and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” 25 In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.” 26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.
27 So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. 29 For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died.
31 But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way.32 Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
33 So, my dear brothers and sisters, when you gather for the Lord’s Supper, wait for each other. 34 If you are really hungry, eat at home so you won’t bring judgment upon yourselves when you meet together. I’ll give you instructions about the other matters after I arrive.
Two things–1.) In verse 19, is Paul being sarcastic? I think so. Divisions in the church don’t prove anything except that there is no unity. And Jesus prayed that we would be one.
2.) The importance of communion is clear. We are to examine ourselves before we come to the table. I think I take this seriously, but maybe not seriously enough. Taking communion unworthily, Paul says, is why many are weak and sick and even have died. It doesn’t get more important than that.
If we take communion lightly, or even absent-mindedly, we may be inviting God’s judgment on ourselves. I don’t think that’s said anywhere else in Scripture so clearly.